The end of the breeding season can have stutters. It may seem the ospreys have migrated, but then one returns – like YA after a 10 day absence.
The end is in stark contrast to the beginning of the season when, suddenly, an empty nest shakes slightly as an osprey lands. And it is one of the breeding pair. Relief is mixed with excitement – we’re off on the roller coaster ride that occurs most breeding seasons!
Kielder has been very fortunate this year. Some UK sites have experienced no breeding success, others have been less productive than most years. All of our established nests had at least one fledgling. However 2 eggs didn’t hatch and 2 chicks died when young, so the joy of seeing successful fledges and healthy juveniles heading off on migration was tempered by those disappointments.
There is a new natural nest in the forest, a great thrill, although Nest 5 was not productive. This is the first time an egg or eggs have been laid on a nest in Kielder Forest and there hasn’t been at least one fledging. But the pair appear to have a strong bond, so we hope they raise offspring in 2019. Other ospreys have been present during the season, and signs for the future are promising.
Despite some relative lows, there have been many highs in the season. Having the privilege of watching the chicks being ringed is definitely an experience that is never forgotten. Ellie, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s seasonal Osprey Assistant, was present at a couple of the nests. Osprey Watch wouldn’t be feasible without volunteers giving their time to talk to the public. Courtesy Forestry Commission England, several NWT volunteers including Les attended ringings. Here are a few ringing day photos from Ellie and Les, which bring back very happy memories. Our thanks to them for sharing.
Ellie will shortly be moving to pastures new. She is completing a spreadsheet of Kielder Osprey data, which will be a lasting legacy of her work here and will be on the site soon. We wish her well in the future, and will miss her sunny personality – which she maintained even when it rained, something she didn’t experience for several weeks!